A third of young voters said they wouldn't want to be friends with someone who voted for a different presidential candidate: poll

  • The US has increasingly become politically polarized in recent decades.

  • A third of respondents in a recent poll said they can't even be friends with rival party supporters.

  • A similar poll in 2016 found that 7% of voters reported friendships ending because of the election.

As the 2024 presidential election quickly approaches, a large number of young adults say they're unwilling to be friends with someone voting for the presidential candidate of the opposing political party.

The poll, conducted between February 3 and 14 by The Generation Lab and Axios to 1,073 young adults, revealed that 33% of respondents said they would "definitely not" or "probably not" be open to being friends with someone who voted for the opposing party's presidential nominee (selecting Republican former President Donald Trump or Democratic current President Joe Biden, specifically).

Monday's survey comes around seven years after a Monmouth University poll found that 7% of voters said they ended friendships over the vitriolic race between Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Those friendships ended, the poll found, as 70% of respondents said the presidential campaign "brought out the worse in people."

Finding increased political polarization in the country isn't particularly new — researchers have reported the country's rapidly increased polarization for decades, with one poll even finding in 2022 that 43% of US adult respondents predicted a civil war erupting within the next decade. The US also, of course, went through an "actual" civil war between the nation's northern and southern regions in the 1860s.

Though the presidential primary season is still underway and neither party has yet to formally pick a nominee, Biden and Trump are leading their respective party's race by large amounts. Trump's campaign recently predicted the former president could clinch the nomination as early as mid-March.

Recent national polling from Morning Consult found that support for Biden among registered voters is almost on par with support for Trump, though independent-leaning voters appear to lean more toward the Republican. Nevertheless, presidential elections are decided via the electoral college votes of each state — not the popular vote — meaning small amounts of voters in a handful of swing states are set to potentially be a key deciding factor in November.

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